Wahls, 26, first gained public notice when he was filmed arguing the merits of families like his to the Iowa House Judiciary Committe, which was weighing a constitutional ban on marriage equality. Wahls spoke of being born via artificial insemination and told the lawmakers his family was not much different than most Iowa families. Wahls's confident and impassioned speech quickly went viral and, with tens of millions of views, was the most popular political video on YouTube in 2011.
Wahls is also an Eagle Scout and has long advocated for equality in scouting. In 2012, Wahls launched Scouting for Equality, which helped pave the way for the Boy Scouts of America eventually dropping its bans on gay scouts and scout leaders. That same year, Wahls spoke at the Democratic National Convention, thanking then-President Barack Obama for publicly endorsing marriage equality.
The Iowa City native will be seeking the 37th District Senate seat of fellow-Democrat Bob Dvorsky, who's retiring next year. Another Democrat — longtime State Department diplomat Janie Weiner — will challenge Wahls in the primary, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids reports.
Wahls is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently in his last year of a master's program in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.